Dozens killed, hundreds stranded as rain and landslides paralyse parts of country

Published March 4, 2024
The image shows locals making their way through a road hit by a landslide on Monday. — photo courtesy Umer Bacha
The image shows locals making their way through a road hit by a landslide on Monday. — photo courtesy Umer Bacha

Dozens of people lost their lives while hundreds were stranded as heavy rain and snowfall have brought life to a standstill in Gilgit-Baltistan, parts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Quetta and other parts of Balochistan remained in the grip of freezing weather, with sub-zero temperatures forcing people to remain indoors. Meanwhile, rains continued to lash several areas of KP.

On the other hand, major thoroughfares in KP and GB were blocked at multiple points for the fourth consecutive day on Monday.

According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), 22 millimetres of rain was recorded in KP’s Drosh in the last 24 hours, 17 in Upper Dir, 15 in Mirkhani, 12 in Saidu Sharif and six in Malam Jabba and Chitral.

It added that the lowest temperature today was recorded in Kalam, Kalat, Quetta, Malamjabba, Astore, Skardu, Gupis and Mirkhani.

35 killed in KP

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, the death toll from torrential rain and snowfall in KP reached 35 today. Besides, 43 people sustained injuries in separate rain-related incidents.

KP PDMA spokesperson Taimor Khan told Dawn.com that 46 houses across the province were completely damaged in rainfall and landslides while over 300 were partially destroyed.

He said relief items had been dispatched to the affected districts on the special directives of KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur. Directives were also issued regarding the clearance of blocked roads, Khan added.

The PDMA official said Charsadda, Lower and Upper Dir, Malakand, Mohmand, Bannu, Khyber, Bajaur, Nowshera, Peshawar, Shangla and Kohistan districts were affected by rainfall.

Separately, electricity remained suspended in several districts for the last four days.

Situation in Balochistan

In Balochistan, the intensity of cold increased after light snowfall was recorded on the hilltops in Kalat, Ziarat, Chaman and Quetta, the PDMA said.

The authority said five people, including children, had died in roof collapse incidents since the start of the spell. Meanwhile, 82 houses were fully damaged and over 120 houses suffered partial damage.

The PDMA said relief operations were underway in nine districts of Balochistan including Gwadar, Quetta, Kech, Kharan, Chaman, Kohlu, Kila Saifullah and Kachi and Zhob.

So far, over 900 people across Balochistan have been rescued and moved to safer locations.

Separately, in its weekly weather forecast, the PMD said a westerly wave was expected to enter Balochistan tomorrow. Rain and thunderstorms with snowfall over hills were predicted in northwest/south Balochistan, it stated.

Main arteries blocked

On the other hand, the Karakoram Highway and the Jaglot-Skardu road were blocked at multiple points for the fourth consecutive day today, National Highway Authority Deputy Director Ghulam Abbas said.

He said two huge landslide boulders had blocked the KKH at Upper Kohistan of KP and Tata Pani of GB’s Diamer. Abbas added that the machines from the Bhasha dam site had been called for the clearance of the road.

The NHA official added that passengers had been stopped at safer locations in Bisham, Kohistan and Diamer due to the road blockade, adding that they would be allowed to resume their journeys once the roads were cleared.

Separately, the Bisham-Swat road in Shangla was also blocked at multiple locations due to landslides and snowfall.

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